Tuesday, May 24th, 7-9pm, in Boynton Beach, FL
Over forty clergy and congregants from seven Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Baha’i congregations met at L’Dor Va=Dor hosted by Rabbi Barry Silver and facilitated by Sheikh Ghassan Manasra of the Abrahamic Reunion, an organization dedicated to interreligious dialogue, encounter, and peacemaking in the Holy Land and the world.
This was the second Abrahamic Reunion meeting in the West Palm Beach area, calling attention to religious unity in the face of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and religiously motivated violence in the world. The theme of the meeting was “Love and Connection: Can Religions Coexist in Today’s World?”
Presentations were made by Rabbi Silver (L’Dor Va-Dor), Imam Dr. Zaher Badaraany (Masjid Al Tawad, Lantana, FL), Rev. Paul Kane (St. Paul’s Episcopal, Delray Beach), Deacon Dennis Demes (Palm Beach Catholic Diocese), Sheikh Ghassan Manasra, Rev. Dr. Anna Less, and David Less (The Abrahamic Reunion), Ted Brownstein (Baha’i / Lake Worth Interfaith Association), Bassem Alhalabi PhD (FAU), and Rabbi Jenny Kuvin.
Imam Zaher reminded the group that “The word love was mentioned in more than 95 spots in The Holy Quran…and Perhaps the things Muslims need in this world in particular and non-Muslims in General is to talk about true love and to search for it again.”
Rabbi Silver challenged the group to repudiate violent anti-interfaith statements from Hamas, while the Abrahamic Reunion read it’s Declaration Of Interreligious Tolerance (see below) affirming its stand against religiously motivated violence of all kinds. He also shared from the Torah, “Thou shalt love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Found in both Exodus and Leviticus).
Ted Brownstein read a Baha’i prayer likening all religions to “rays of one sun” – and shared with the group the Marrakesh Declaration, which was issued in Muslim nations protecting the rights of religions minorities to exist within Muslim nations.
Rabbi Kuvin taught that the etymological meaning of shalom, commonly translated from Hebrew as peace, literally translates to “spirits learning to flow together”.
Deacon Demes offered prayer and shared that this is the “Year of Mercy” as declared by the Pope, exemplified by bringing Syrian refugees into the Vatican.
Rev. Kane shared the words of Pope Paul VI “if you want peace, work for Justice.”
Rev. Dr. Anna Less led the group in a short exercise returning to the breath and sending peace to peoples of the world in need of peace.
Refreshments and conversation continued after the presentations including lively discussion about the violent parts of the Torah, Bible, and Quran, the abuse, misinterpretation, and misquoting of scripture by radicals and extremists, scholarly and public repudiations of religious violence,
The group plans to meet again during Ramadan for an Iftar dinner, which breaks the daily fast during the fasting month.
The Abrahamic Reunion is a 501c3 registered in the United States, and funded completely by donations. Donations go to support peacemaking projects and interfaith dialogue in Israel and Palestine, and interreligious text study and encounter groups in Sarasota, West Palm Beach, London, Istanbul, and other locations. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.